Print Story Another unsubstantiated intarwebs parable?
This one died in the diary deluge over at dKos but I put too much work into it to let it die so quietly. I'll get more readers here and I bloody well worked hard enough to deserve them.

It's Friday night. I don't have to work but she does. I have a bottle of Absolut Pears and time on my hands. So I'm checking through the usual sites and I have a peek at that Younger than McCain site to see if one of my submissions has been posted. None have, but I notice A Day in the Life of a Middle-Class Republican because, well, my own blog is called A Day in the Life.

Right away I see another tired, forwarded-100-times-through-the-intarwebs parable, except it seems fairly accurate. So I click. And read through. And I'm pretty sure it's accurate. But there are no links and no citations.... until now.

Tom gets up at 6:00 AM to prepare his morning coffee. He fills his pot with good, clean drinking water because some liberal fought for minimum water quality standards1. He takes his daily medication with his first swallow of coffee. His medications are safe to take because some liberal fought to ensure their safety and that they work as advertised2.

All but $10.00 of his medications are paid for by his employer’s medical plan. Because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance, now Tom gets it too3. He prepares his morning breakfast — bacon and eggs this day. Tom’s bacon is safe to eat because some liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry4. Tom takes his morning shower, reaching for his shampoo. His bottle is properly labeled with every ingredient and the amount that is contains because some liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and the breakdown of its contents5. Tom dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some tree-hugging liberal fought for laws to stop industries from polluting our air6. He walks to the subway station for his government-subsidized ride to work; it saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees. You see, some liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor7.

Tom begins his work day; he has a good job with excellent pay, medical benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some liberal union members fought and died for these working standards8. Tom’s employer meets these standards because Tom’s employer doesn’t want his employees to call the union. If Tom is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed he’ll get worker’s compensation9 or an unemployment check because some liberal didn’t think he should lose his home to temporary misfortune10.

It’s noon time. Tom needs to make a bank deposit so he can pay some bills. Tom’s deposit is federally insured by the FDIC because some liberal wanted to protect Tom’s money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the depression11.

Tom has to pay his Fannie Mae underwritten mortgage12 and his below market federal student loan because some stupid liberal decided that Tom and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his lifetime13.

Tom is home from work. He plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive to dads; his car is among the safest in the world because some liberal fought for car safety standards14. He arrives at his boyhood home. He was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers Home Administration because bankers didn’t want to make rural loans15. The house didn’t have electric until some big government liberal stuck his nose where it didn’t belong and demanded rural electrification (those rural Republican’s would still be sitting in the dark)16.

Tom is happy to see his dad, who is now retired. Tom’s dad lives on Social Security and his union pension because some liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Tom wouldn’t have to17. After his visit with dad, Tom gets back in his car for the ride home. He turns on a radio talk show. The host keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. He doesn’t tell Tom that his beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Tom enjoys throughout his day. Tom agrees, “We don’t need those big government liberals ruining our lives.
After all, I’m a self-made man who believes everyone should take care of themselves, just like I have.”

1 Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1948, 33 USC 1251-1376 (Truman), amended 1977 (Carter)
2 "Progressive", actually. Theodore Roosevelt served as as a Republican but on social issues was more left-leaning than many of today's Democrats. Despite his jingoistic Rough Riders, under his administration were passed the Sherman Act, the Elkins Act, the Pure Food & Drug Act and the Meat Inspection Act, as well as the creation of National Parks. He had been McKinley's VP when McKinley was assasinated.
3 Health insurance was originally private. Unions did manage to bargain for better care, mainly during and after WWII. This one's not a fair call.
4 Op cit. Progressive Teddy again.
5 Fair Packaging and Labeling Act, 1966 (Johnson)
6 Tough call, but leaning toward the Democrats. The first known act was in 1306 when King Edward I banned the use of sea coal in the London Harbour. The Air Pollution Control Act of 1955 (amended 1960, 1962) which both provided research funding for studying pollution and preceded the Clean Air Act of 1963. This law had major amendments in 1970 and again in 1990, with Bush starting to gut it in 2002.
7 Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1964, amended 1970; 49 USC §53 -- offered capital grants for up to 50 percent of the cost of transit improvements.
8 The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) which explicitly grants employees the right to collectively bargain and join trade unions came into effect in 1935, passed by the 73rd Congress (59D-36R) and signed into law by FDR after many bloody riots over the previous two years.
9 Federal Employer's Liability act, another one under Teddy Roosevelt: "the burden of an accident fell upon the helpless man, his wife and children". Prior to 1908 some states had enacted their own versions including Maryland, Massachusetts, New York and Georgia, with varying degrees of success. The biggest change came in 1978 (Carter) which replaced the lump sum payments with the "wage loss concept".
10 FDR, 1934. I am looking for a sound means which I can recommend to provide at once security against several of the great disturbing factors in life--especially those which relate to unemployment and old age. I believe there should be a maximum of cooperation between States and the Federal Government. I believe that the funds necessary to provide this insurance should be raised by contribution rather than by an increase in general taxation. Above all, I am convinced that social insurance should be national in scope, although the several States should meet at least a large portion of the cost of management, leaving to the Federal Government the responsibility of investing, maintaining and safeguarding the funds constituting the necessary insurance reserves. -- Message to Congress, 08 JUN 1934
11 FDIC enacted 1933 in response to the banking scandals and losses after the Great Depression.
12 Fannie Mae enacted in 1938 under FDR to expand the flow of mortgage money by creating a secondary market. Corrupted in 1954 (Eisenhower and a Republican majority 83rd Congress) when converted to a "mixed-ownership" corporation owned partly by private stockholders and again in 1970 when Nixon allowed FNMA to purchase conventional mortgages and not just those from the FHA.
13 Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) program, 1965 (Johnson). To be fair there was the precursor National Defense Education Act of 1958 with direct loans capitalized using U.S. Treasury funds following Milton Friedman's recommendations but it didn't guarantee the loans.
14 Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (49 CFR 571), 1967. It was my father, during his time at DoT between 1969 and 1975, who made seat belts mandatory car equipment in the US; they had up until then been expensive optional equipment.
15 Initially the 1935 Resettlement Administration under the New Deal, the Farm Security Administration quickly failed due to cooperative goals rather than those of ownership but remains famous for the photography program which showed post-Depression farmers. During WWII the FSA was more or less disbanded and the FHA took its place with the goal of allowing tenant farmers to purchase the land they were working. The budget was greatly expanded when it became a plank in LBJ's "War on Poverty"
16 FDR's New Deal again. 11 May 1935. Within only 15 years virtually every farm in the US had been provided with electricity, and at a line cost which dropped from more than $2,000 to under $600.
17 See footnotes 2 & 8

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Another unsubstantiated intarwebs parable? | 12 comments (12 topical, 0 hidden)
Can I borrow this? by georgeha (4.00 / 1) #1 Fri Jun 27, 2008 at 04:03:10 PM EST

By all means by ReallyEvilCanine (4.00 / 1) #3 Fri Jun 27, 2008 at 06:36:58 PM EST
Credit is appreciated. I sourced the story; I just did the research / fact-checking.

the internet: amplifier of stupidity -- discordia

[ Parent ]
You've made some definite improvements by marvin (4.00 / 1) #2 Fri Jun 27, 2008 at 06:18:02 PM EST
But in my experience, the electorate rarely lets facts stand in the way of voting for the wrong candidate, even when the wrong candidate clearly possesses a demonstrable lack of ideas or vision. Too many idiots vote.

paraphrased by MillMan (4.00 / 1) #4 Fri Jun 27, 2008 at 07:37:39 PM EST
"Republicans say that government doesn't work - so we elect them, and they prove it."

When I'm imprisoned as an enemy combatant, will you blog about it?

VS2FP interesting by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #5 Fri Jun 27, 2008 at 10:17:42 PM EST
Of course, the fact that these things happened through government action, doesn't mean they had to happen through government action.

For instance, most of the UK's rail network was built by private industry, but that doesn't prove all rail networks have to be built privately, or that that's the best way to build them.
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

Rail by ad hoc (4.00 / 1) #7 Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 07:37:25 AM EST
I don't know much about UK Rail, but US Rail (back when it was big for passengers, and still today when it's big for freight) was built by private companies. It's just that the land they got for building the rails was nearly a giveaway by the government (either through cheap as dirt leases, or by eminent domain seizure). So, yes, it was built privately, but it's not at all clear it could have been done without government intervention on their behalf.
The three things that make a diamond also make a waffle.
[ Parent ]
UK railways by Vulch (2.00 / 0) #10 Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 01:20:34 AM EST

Each new line required an enabling act from Parliament, land ownership was far less fragmented than it is now so the space for the trackbed could generally be aquired from a few estates. There are (or were pre-Beeching) a number of lines that took odd diversions round certain blocks of land.

[ Parent ]
I'm /almost/ tempted to forward this to all by lm (4.00 / 1) #6 Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 03:35:40 AM EST
must. resist. temptation.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
Temptation rocks. by ReallyEvilCanine (2.00 / 0) #9 Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 10:34:56 AM EST
Satisfaction is even better.

the internet: amplifier of stupidity -- discordia

[ Parent ]
The most addicting satisfaction by debacle (4.00 / 1) #12 Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 07:39:36 AM EST
Is that of successfully resisting temptation.

How does one, then, successfully resist the temptation to resist temptation?


[ Parent ]
I was sure I'd read this on by ambrosen (4.00 / 1) #8 Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 07:38:17 AM EST
But couldn't find it when I looked just now. Still, it would be interesting to see what they thought of a fully annotated version.

Oh, and Britain's clean air can be fairly clearly attributed to the Clean Air Act after the unusually toxic London smogs of 1954(?), which precipitated 1000s of deaths.

I thought I read this first by Herring (4.00 / 1) #11 Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 02:01:21 PM EST
in an Al Franken book. I could go and check, but it's a long way to the bookshelf.

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

Another unsubstantiated intarwebs parable? | 12 comments (12 topical, 0 hidden)